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Yu Darvish, 2014 Texas Rangers
How nice would it have been to roll Yu Darvish out to the hill on Monday for the first official pitch of the Texas Rangers season? Pretty nice, eh? Maybe the game would've turned out differently than the 14-10 loss to the Philadelphia Phillies and Cliff Lee, who had one of his worst outings in recent memory.
Darvish's stiff neck toward the close of spring training made that an impossibility, as he was put on the disabled list retroactively. He's eligible to return on April 5, and after an encouraging bullpen session on Sunday, he could be back soon after that.
There's still no official word as to whether the club wants Darvish to throw a simulated game or a minor-league game before returning to face big-league hitters for the first time in what would be more than two weeks. But if anyone can get by without it, you'd think it'd be Darvish.
Darvish could be set for his return on Sunday to close out a road series against the Tampa Bay Rays or in Boston on Monday to face the Red Sox in their home opener. Remember how we told you that pitching reinforcements on the way and not to worry about what you see this first week? Well, it's getting even closer with Darvish's return imminent and Colby Lewis possibly following closely behind him.